The movement of animals from 162 farms in the Netherlands has been blocked after the discovery of dioxin-contaminated potato by-products used for animal feeding.

Authorities have also halted the movement of animals from eight farms in Belgium and three in Germany that also received the contaminated animal feed.

Potato by-products, such as potato peels used for animal feed, were found to be contaminated by high levels of dioxins at a Dutch potato processing company. So far, analysis of the Dutch company's potato products intended for human consumption indicates that they do not contain unacceptable levels of cancer-causing dioxin.

The European Commission said it has been actively coordinating the tracing of the chain of deliveries through the European Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed.

"Member State authorities and the Commission are cooperating closely to ensure that consumer safety is not jeopardised. Together we will act swiftly yet responsibly. So far, our system of traceability and alert notifications is working well. It is vital that the confidence of the consumer in our food chain is maintained," said Commissioner David Byrne.